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Singapore: The future’s green for entrepreneurs

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Exotic sights, sounds and aromas, colourful local culture, pristine city streets, tranquil parks and nature reserves, pro-business environment, world-class infrastructure - this is contemporary Singapore. It is a country that has the uncanny ability to blend the very best of East and West, from the richness and grandeur of Asia to the luxury and sophistication of Monaco to the precision and efficiency of Switzerland.

As a sovereign city-state enjoying macroeconomic stability, Singapore has been ranked the world’s easiest country in which to do business (World Bank, 2010). It’s a major intercontinental trade hub, linking Europe, Asia and Australasia. With its tax haven status, and low personal and corporate tax rates, it’s an ideal work base for entrepreneurs.

One of the world’s four leading financial centres, Singapore is an innovative global city with a vibrant, sustainable future. With the growth of Asia, it’s beginning to become even more important. I’ve spent considerable time doing business there. Looking towards the future from a sustainability perspective, I see Singapore leading Asia from the front with a number of government incentives in the way of monetary grants and training programs designed to assist companies to save energy and cut costs.

One example is a Water Management Course run throughout 2011 for management staff of interested companies. Participants were shown how to reduce water usage and maintain and test their current equipment, then given the task of undertaking a Water Audit for their company. Not only did this provide practical experience on how to measure and reduce water usage, it also served as a way for Singapore to encourage companies to reduce their water usage, thus delaying the necessity for capital expenditure on an expensive new water desalination plant.

Singapore is one of few Southeast Asian countries where the water is fit to drink straight from the tap. Water from local catchment areas, imported water, reclaimed water known as NEWater and desalinated water ensure a stable, sustainable, self-sufficient water supply capable of catering to the country’s continued growth.

In addition, government entities such as SPRING (Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board) nurture innovative start-ups and pro-enterprise environment. SME’s can apply for the EnviroTech CDP (ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME) grant. SG$ 6m has been set aside for this purpose, offering funds to the environmental technology industry to build new capabilities that can add new service offerings or significantly improve their productivity, and to fund the development of new environmental technology capabilities, products and services.

With its open-door policy towards global talent, innovation and trade, Singapore presents many opportunities for pioneers, entrepreneurs, visionaries and aspiring individuals.

The country has so captivated me personally that I myself have recently relocated from the UK and chosen it as my work base. I can now call Singapore home and attest to it as an ideal place in which to live, work and play.

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